A little verse in the middle of a snowstorm…

I came upon a ‘Gyptian Scribe

This ancient act of writing down
Makes cynics laugh and comics frown
Bemuse me, Lord, and let me sing
Like the bells of St. Mary’s
How they ring!
How they ring!

Back in days of hardened youth
When the glass was full
And all, uncouth

I came upon a ‘Gyptian Scribe
Who held to tablets, firm with pride
He sat cross-legged
and looked to me
“My friend,” he said,
“Just wait and see.”

To this cryptic utterance I did reply
“But who are you?
And what do you speak?”

The scribe smiled sweet
Through time’s round gate
And spoke to me
“It’s not too late.”

Perplexed beyond all measure fair,
I decided quick, to make this square
“Listen here, Scribe,” I said to he,
“If you be not a reverie
Tell me what this riddle makes!”

Alas, the Scribe turned to me
And sent these words
direct to deliveree.

And that is all I have to say
You decide–
or fake?

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2008. All rights reserved.


  1. This is lovely, evokes the “riddle of the Sphinx” very nicely, mysteries beyond telling. Life is a riddle many of us can’t solve…and if, by chance, we do, it’s usually too late to do anything about it. Good work…


  2. Thanks Cliff, you’re too kind! I used to write poetry a few years ago but pretty well stopped as I just lost interest.

    This one was like a puzzle… after the original, archaic-sounding inspiration I had to fit things together, change a few words, etc. to try to make it work.

    Interestingly, the original came out “I onced upon a ‘Gyptian Scribe,” which doesn’t really make any sense, even though I liked how it sounded.

    If anyone in the blogosphere knows of any usage in which “I onced upon” is deemed acceptable, plz let me know and I might change it back!

    After reading this again, I just changed one other word back to the original archaic form… “riddle means” to “riddle makes.”


  3. So, Mike, what were the words – Wait and see – or – It’s not too late.

    Like this one, it’s nice, got a nice flow. Tell me, wouldn’t “an Egyptian” flow just as nicely as “‘Gyptian” would modernize it a bit altho I do enjoy the somewhat archaic language; it’s poetic. I think it’s excellent.
    PS: where did you get this website? Part of EP?


  4. Hi Sharon… thanks for your comments. I guess I was playing on Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” You know… Grecian Urn, ‘Gyptian Scribe.

    As for the meaning of who waits and sees and who’s not too late, to me that’s not so important as the question… does the poet, when struck by the ‘muse’ somehow connect with someone somewhere else or is he or she just being highly imaginative? Or perhaps some combination?

    This blog is sort of an adjunct to earthpages.org | earthpages.ca… it’s what I, myself, am into as opposed to the material at earthpages. Of course, there’s always overlap. But I can do stuff here that I wouldn’t do there! It’s more personal and experimental…

    The host is like blogger… totally free:


    Maybe you should check it out! 🙂

    Sharon…I just changed “I’m not too late” to “It’s not too late.” Good suggestion! (Mar 19 08)


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